One of the benefits of writing a column like this is receiving letters from Deseret News readers. I've learned many things about marriage during the past decade from letters sent in. Most of the letters have been from women who have shared with me not only their frustrations and sorrows but also their joys and hopes with modern marriage.
As winter semester comes to a close at Brigham Young University, I've been giving serious thought about what issues to address in this column during the next few months. Having written more than 500 columns thus far, the thought occurred to me that maybe we have touched all the bases. And some more than once. But repetition is not necessarily inappropriate. One of the more impressive quotes I remember is, "Sometimes it is better to be reminded than be informed." Over the years I suspect we have done a great deal of reminding for many column readers who tend to be fairly well-informed on marital matters.I also recently realized that marriage has changed a great deal during the past decade. What exactly are the new issues, challenges and problems that married couples are experiencing?
When I was doing my graduate work at Florida State University some 20 years ago, I took a class from a nationally known psychologist who did a great deal of work in marriage and family relations. He told us one day in class there were a few major issues in marriage and family, and if we became skilled in these 10 or so areas, we would be competent to help a great number of married couples.
Those areas were (not necessarily in rank order of importance): communication, sex, in-laws, religion, children, drugs and alcohol, friends, money and work, recreation and tremendous trifles (the cap-off-the-toothpaste category).
I have since found that he was correct. These were then and still remain major areas of adjustment for most couples today. Incidentally, one of his other students, David Knox, later wrote a book titled "Successful Marriage" with a chapter on each of these major areas.
What do you think the major areas of adjustment are for married couples today? Is the list relevant? I thought it would be interesting to invite readers to write in and tell me what they believe the issues are in marriage at the present time. During the next day or two give it some thought. Then write what you think are some of the major areas of adjustment for today's married couples.
The letters need not be long. Just a short paragraph or two will do. Please indicate whether you are male or female, if you are presently married and, if so, approximately how long you have been married to your spouse. You need not sign your name.
If you would like me to write a column on a specific topic, please indicate. I cannot send personal replies to each letter but will do my best to respond in future columns. I would like to write on topics that are of major interest to you, the readers, and would appreciate any input you make.
Send your letters to Dr. Brent Barlow, 1230 SFLC, BYU, Provo, UT 84602. Mail them as soon as possible so I can summarize and share with you a list of current marital concerns.
FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH: It used to be she who rocked the cradle ruled the world. Now it's the one who possesses the remote control to the family television set.